Yorkshire Party Leader Chris Whitwood has called on Yorkshire men and women to start healing the divide caused by Brexit.
In a major statement at the start of the European election campaign, Chris says the focus should be on the big issues that unite local people not the one that has torn apart British politics.
“Regardless of your opinion on Brexit, Yorkshire’s schools are still chronically underfunded. Our health service is overstretched. Our region receives a pitiful tenth of the transport investment enjoyed by London. Areas of Yorkshire suffer the worst air pollution in England outside the capital. Yet these discussions are being drowned out,” he said.
“It’s easy to talk about unity. However, it is significantly more challenging to create it in practice. Brexit is an issue that is tearing British politics apart.
“Yorkshire is no different. Our region is divided. We have seen three years of difficult and often heated discussions. However, if we (both as individuals and parties) fall into the trap of defining ourselves solely by the binary choice of Leave or Remain, we risk losing sight of the challenges facing our region and the opportunities that exist to address them.
“That is why the Yorkshire Party is standing in the European elections on May 23. The Party’s recent successes in the local elections shows that many people now view the Yorkshire Party as a positive and viable alternative to the Westminster parties.
“Some politicians have dug their heels in becoming increasingly extreme – either arguing to ignore the wishes of the 58% of Yorkshire voters who wanted to leave the EU or wilfully disregarding the concerns of the 42% who voted to remain. Others refuse to talk about the issue at all, denying discussion of the topic or drifting from reluctant Leaver to Remainer and back depending on the shifting sands of their audience. None of this does anything to inspire confidence in the electorate.
“The question we must, therefore, ask ourselves is: why did we get into politics?
“In the case of myself and, I’m sure many other Yorkshire Party members, it wasn’t for fame or money (trust me – if that’s what you’re looking for regional politics is not the direction for you). It wasn’t for an easy life. So, why join a political party?
“The answer is simple: to improve the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
“There is a stark choice between sitting at home swearing a Question Time and actually standing up to do something positive.
“I spent many of the past 10 years campaigning for first aid to be a skill taught to all young people – a change in the law that will save hundreds, if not thousands of lives. Through that, I have experienced the positive role politics can play in our lives.
“The example of the One Yorkshire campaign demonstrates how political parties, businesses, civic leaders and voters can set aside historic differences and unite for the good of Yorkshire. Similarly, the Yorkshire Party provides a home for those on both sides of the Brexit debate, united by our desire to tackle the tangible issues that affect people’s everyday lives.
“We as political parties need to inspire people that they can be ambitious for themselves, for their families, for their friends and for their communities.
“In these European elections – caused by Westminster’s failure – it is this vision of ambition for Yorkshire that the Yorkshire Party will champion.
“It is a vision of hope that, regardless of Brexit outcome decided by Parliament, will allow our region to unite in our desire to build a fairer United Kingdom and slowly heal the divide.”